Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Public Affairs Division – Washington, DC
Contact: Public Affairs Division
Multiple Firearms Sales or Other Disposition Reporting
The Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968 requires federal firearms licensees (FFLs) to report multiple sales or other dispositions of handguns to the same purchaser [18 U.S.C. § 923(g)(3)]. The sale or disposition of two or more handguns must be reported if they occur at the same time, or within five consecutive business days of each other.
In August 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was authorized by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to initiate similar reporting requirements on the multiple sales or other dispositions of certain rifles for a period of three years. [18 U.S.C. § 923(g)(5)(A)] The reporting requirements mandate all federally licensed firearms dealers and pawnbrokers in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas submit to ATF, reports of multiple sales or other dispositions of certain rifles to unlicensed individuals when two or more rifles are transferred at the same time, or within five consecutive business days of each other. The types of rifles that must be reported are those with the following characteristics: (1) semiautomatic; (2) a caliber greater than .22 (including .223/5.56 mm); and (3) the ability to accept detachable magazines.
ATF has long used multiple sales information to detect, investigate, and prevent firearms trafficking. ATF views the recovery of one or more firearms used in crimes that were part of a multiple purchase as an indicator of firearms trafficking, particularly if one of the firearms was recovered a short time after the multiple sale occurred (known as a short time–to–crime).